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Writer’s Workshop

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Yesterday was my work anniversary! One year ago, I accepted a position as an instructional designer at Daemen College. I’ve been designing a sociolinguistics course that I’ll be teaching remotely soon as well, and I get to teach advanced composition again! If you would have told me one year ago that my life would look anything like it does today, I wouldn’t have believed you. And I’m profoundly grateful for where I am right now.…

My interest in loose parts play evolved out of the discoveries I was making through my own action research in the years prior to the release of my first little book, Make Writing. You can read more about that work by visiting any of these posts if you’re interested. These are a few that I find particularly revealing, as a reflective practitioner: Writing Ideas at Play (2010) Research and Writing in Kindergarten (a series) (2011)…

What’s Culture Got To Do With It? Before I share some of what I’m learning here, I need to make myself clear: When I use the word culture, I’m not referring to race alone. That very fact—the fact that I’m not speaking to race specifically–is problematic, too. I know. I knew it when I was drafting today’s post. I will write that piece separately, I thought. I will write that one next. Why? Well, because…

Last week, I started a conversation that I promised to continue throughout this month, one post at a time. It’s about privilege, power, and print inside of our writing workshops and classrooms. Where we’ve been, where we need to be going, and what I’m trying to do, in order to help people get there. My ideas are a small contribution. I know this. I have much more to learn and others have so much more…

When we embrace diversity, we strive to make the demographic of our schools and classrooms diverse. When we embrace inclusion, we ensure that diverse people are seated at the tables where learning is happening and decisions are being made. And when we embrace equity, we create environments and cultures where diverse people can show up authentically, as their complete, and wildly diverse selves, in order to be seen and appreciated, and in order to make…

This week’s post is written especially for those who are making writing with their students and eager to elevate the quality of what writers build, before they help them transition to print. What do I mean by MAKING writing? Well, this is what I mean.  And why would we do this, anyway? I offer some brief thoughts on this here. —————————————————————————————————————————– If you’ve been experimenting with making inside of your own writing workshop or classroom,…

“Because she laughs so much, and when she laughs, it’s like music,” she explained when I asked her why she’d built a series of music notes to represent her grandmother. Fifth graders were developing characters for their personal narratives in that day’s writing workshop. “What kind of music?” I wondered aloud. “Gospel,” she said, without hesitation. “Her laughter is big and loud and rockin’. It makes everyone stop and listen. Yeah, it’s definitely gospel.” I…

“But how is that writing?” he asked, and I got it. I get it. This doesn’t look like writing, does it? And his question is one we should all be asking, make writing friends. In recent weeks, I’ve explored why we might want to use loose parts in our writing workshops and classrooms. I’ve also shared a bit about how. I haven’t blogged about transitioning makers to print, though. This post is for those of…

This week, I had the opportunity to make and write personal narratives with writers and teachers from Fieldstone Middle School in North Rockland, New York. And I thought I’d share that process with you, so that you may iterate on it and share your own ideas and work back with the rest of us. We’ve been talking about narrative writing all month in my Facebook group, Building Better Writers, and I know that at least…

An important note, ahead of today’s post: There are different kinds of writing workshop teachers, in my experience: Those who are wanting a clearer path, those who are walking one (often in very good company), and those whose rich and varied experiences have called them to wander a bit, even as they carve a careful course for their students. And in an ideal world, with their students.  Those are the workshop teachers whose wisdom inspires…